Draft Report on Fixing the NIH: Comment Period Open Until 3/17/08

March 7, 2008

Apologies DearReader, we’ve been slacking in our duties around here (writedit is, of course, up to date). The NIH “Enhancing Peer Review” website has the Final Draft of the NIH 2007-2008 Peer Review Self-Study available as a PDF. The NIH is furthermore soliciting comments on this draft, a final chance to get in your two cents on the various issues at hand.

If you wish to comment on the Final Draft, please send your comments no later than Monday, March 17, 2008, via:
Electronically: PeerReviewRFI@mail.nih.gov
OR United States Mail:
Penny Wung Burgoon, Ph.D.
Senior Assistant to the Deputy Director
Office of the Director, NIH
One Center Drive,
Building 1, Room 114
Bethesda, MD

As our old readers will know, I spent a fair bit of time over the past year blogging on a number of topics relevant to this effort on the part of the NIH to revamp the way it does business. For new readers, a subset of these posts include:

So I should have something on this Draft Report. In partial defense of my slacking I will note that this monster runs to 88 pages. I was picking out all kinds of stuff and plotting posts. Then I realized that I’d better just get the links out in front of you so as to give you time to comment before I managed to post. So go read the report and comment, would ya?
I will note a couple of things.

  • First, the notion of getting younger representation in the peer review process was opposed in a specific line-item outcome from three stakeholder sources. Big loss for the DM there.
  • Revision status of grants is being taken very seriously with a proposal to do away with revisions altogether. A win in theory, we’ll see how the practice goes.
  • Attention paid to matching funding with career stage. Ultimate recommendation seems to be just to hand out more young-investigator R01s. A win.
  • Collect data on non-PI career scientist paths. A bureaucratic temporizing action and therefore a loss. Keep the foot on the throttle on this one folks!
  • Smacking around local institutes for the explosion of soft-money (i.e., all salary funded through NIH grants) jobs. Mixed bag. Retreating from the current state of affairs is going to be very painful because soft-money positions were one of the ways young investigators could actually transition and get a chance to make it.

What did you notice in the Report?

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